Reading

(Warning: Beware the used or library textbook with highlighting. Do the human race a favor and either don't highlight your books, or don't sell back highlighted books.)

In addition to the following required textbooks, students will read selections from The Holy Bible (reading level:   ) and several articles from my website (also   , depending on the selection) coordinated with lecture topics.

Challenge Packages

This course now comes in several 'challenge packages' that allow students to select the level of challenge that is most appropriate for them. These are like automotive trims: for instance, my supercool 1996 Honda Odyssey LX still isn't as snazzy as the EX.

Base Package (top grade: B-)

The base package has reduced readings, podcasted lectures, and written assignments, but tops out at a lower grade. A solid value for the budget conscious!

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Eerdmans, 1989.
Robert Barron, And Now I See: a Theology of Transformation, Crossroad, 1998.
Timothy Keller, King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, Dutton, 2011.

Performance Package (top grade: A)

The performance package includes more of all three. For a higher price (in time and effort), you can enjoy power options, additional features, and a higher possible grade.

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Eerdmans, 1989.
Robert Barron, And Now I See: a Theology of Transformation, Crossroad, 1998.
Timothy Keller, King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, Dutton, 2011.
Vincent Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered, Orbis, 2003.
Michael Shermer, How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God, Holt, 2003.

Sports Package (In-Course Honors)

The sports package, otherwise known as in-course honors, features more demanding readings and higher expectations. It is noted as 'honors' on the transcript if the student receives a B or higher. Firmer suspension, more horsepower, harder to handle, but fun to drive!

Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline, Perennial, 1959.
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Eerdmans, 1989.
Robert Barron, And Now I See: a Theology of Transformation, Crossroad, 1998.
Miroslav Volf, Captive to the Word of God: Engaging the Scriptures for Contemporary Theological Reflection, Eerdmans, 2010.
E.O. Wilson, On Human Nature, rev. ed., Harvard, 2004.

Optional reading for on your own, directed study, or extra credit exercises:

For students with poor writing skills, my classes also feature conditionally required reading.

Michael Harvey, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing, Hackett, 2003. 100pp.
This compact and very helpful guide to college writing shows students how to make their writing simple, clear, smooth, grammatical, graceful, responsible, orderly, and powerful. The book addresses the most common vices that afflict collegiate writers and cultivates the most important virtues that should characterize writers of every stripe. It is concise, unpretentious, and (for a change) inexpensive. You may use this book for extra credit, in which case each of our written exercises will focus on one chapter.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (selections), http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm.
One of the most important texts of recent theology is this training manual on the Christian faith for all teachers in the Catholic tradition. Beyond being the culmination of two centuries of historical and constructive theology, it offers our class a magisterial introduction to the Christian faith. As the rest of the course overlaps its teaching on the Apostles' Creed, we will concentrate on the sections on the Word and sacraments of the Church, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer.

Martin Luther, Shorter Catechism, http://www.ucc.org/faith/small.htm.
(Also recommended: Long Catechism
, http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/wittenberg-luther.html#sw-lc. )
Martin Luther (inadvertently) fathered Protestantism, a far-reaching effort to reform an unhealthy Christian Church in the sixteenth century. Luther wrote catechisms to increase biblical and theological literacy among a woefully ignorant German people. These review and apply the Ten Commandments, the articles of the Apostles' Creed, the petitions of the Lord's Prayer, and the sacraments of the Church. Well, in 2002, woeful biblical and theological ignorance is back. We will be learning the text of the Shorter Catechism to see how theology once worked as a guide to all life, and to remember how beautifully profound Luther's teaching could be. (I am providing links to optional readings from the Long Catechism if you want to read in more depth.)

There is always more reading for after the course is over. Here are guidelines on finding it and some reading suggestions from my own library.

Course
Vision
Reading
Tasks
Schedule
MATERIALS
Rules of the Game
A Few (Strong) Suggestions on Essay Writing
Pointers for Presentations
Workbook Tips
Peer Review Guidelines
Review Form (PDF)